The court or Corte de Honor at a young lady's quinceanera is composed of of her most trusted and valued companions. They will help walk her through the day and celebrate with her as she graduates to womanhood.
Corte de Honor Basics
The court may be all ladies, all young men, or a combination of the two. It is much like a wedding party. Their role is to support the honoree, share the spotlight, and make the date fun. Some of the details of the court you need to remember are:
The girls are termed Damas. Each Dama is expected to wear formal attire, usually a ballgown, and they all must match.
The boys are called Chamberlains (also Chamberlanes or Chambelan), Escortes, or Galán. The Chamberlains are required to wear suits, tuxes, or suitable garb.
There is one main Chamberlain, the Quinceanera's escort.
All wear matching suits, tuxedoes, dresses, and all the accessories to complement the hostess.
Special Duties of Court Members
All members have group duties but occasionally individuals may be singled out for special tasks. Dependant upon the quinceanera, the court may have other tasks thrust upon them. For instance, the boys may need to seat older family members for the meal. Girls may be asked to help with decor, coats, or present handling.
The main duties include:
The Corte de Honor attends the mass or religious ceremony with the young lady.
The group helps create a formal entrance at the party. Introductions are formal and each court member is listed on the general invitations.
One of the most important participatory activities is posing for photos.
Members are expect to participate in traditional dances.
A group dance is often included, occasionally this is a waltz, but more modern quinces treat it as a flash mob.
The Corte de Honor also performs the ritual dance with her, which often requires attendance of professional classes to master the steps. This may take five to 10 hours to perfect.
Alternate to that, the court may present a baile de sorpresa for her, a surprise dance number. This may be in the form of a live performance, a video, or other presentation.
Inviting Members of the Court
An important part of inviting members of the Corte is to remember to ask their parents. The details of accepting a court invite may become expensive with gowns, hair and makeup, special shoes and more. Asking the parents is polite and lets them know what kind of commitments they need to make, both financially and in terms of time.
Timing the Invitations
Due to the cost and expectations of a member of court, it is courteous to ask friends well in advance. A suggested request period is at least 6 months before the affair. This gives attendees time to learn the dance, attend fittings and rehearsals and other requirements. Not all quinceaneras are formal but many are, and planning is often a year long process. It is wise to let the Damas and Chamberlains involved as much notice as possible. Sometimes, an invitation may be denied because of the stresses incurred. This is not surprising and should be treated with grace.
Create Special Invitations
Sometimes the young Latina invites her court verbally, but more often girls perform the request in a creative way. Many entertaining methods of formal invites play upon prom-vite ideas. These could be as simple as ordering your friend's favorite coffee drink and penning the request on the cup or as extravagant as creating a You Tube channel. Handwritten or designed paper invitations have an elegant feel. Beautiful handmade paper invitations take time to arrive, so plan well in advance for specialty crafts that you make yourself.
Once you have the invites, send them snail mail or do something fun like have a get-together with each child that is being asked to attend. Hang a pinata with the invites inside and once it bursts each guest can find their special request in a fun way.
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What to Include in the Invitation
In the invite you should include all the details of the date including what the court responsibilities and expected attire. Each invitation should include the following:
Location of mass and party
A novel gift included with the invitation is a thoughtful and well received way to say thank you.
Sample Corte de Honor Invitation Wording
Senorita _______ requests the pleasure of your company on Month, Day, Year in her Quinceanera Court.
The mass will be held at St. Anthony's Catholic Church at Noon.
Baile and Fiesta will be held at The Red Barn at 2:00 p.m.
Grand Entrance 2:15 p.m.
Slide Show 3:00 p.m.
Buffet Opens 3:30 p.m.
Formal Waltz 4:30 p.m.
Open Dance Floor 4:45 to 8:00 p.m.
Ladies' clothing will be selected from Las Damas store at a time to be determined. Gentlemen are asked to rent a tux with pink cumberbund and tie.
There will be live music from Three Roosters as well as a DJ, ice cream truck, games, sorpresas, and more!
Please let Quinceanera Honoree know whether you accept her invitation to the Corte de Honor by Date.
An Honor for Family and Friends
The quinceanera is a traditional event that is much anticipated by the girl and her family. Female Latinas only have one quinceanera and it should be special and spectacular. The court she selects should reflect her dearest friends and family on this special day.